Martin Luther said that the Book of James was an ‘epistle of straw’ because he could not reconcile its emphasis on “faith without works” being dead with Paul’s “salvation by grace through faith and not by works”. Therefore he regulated it to the end of the New Testament canon. We all have our theological bias. With that in mind which book of the NT do you find most bothersome? Or if you were part of the early church which book would you have not wanted to include in the NT canon?
I think 2 Peter gives me the most problems, esp. since it was rejected by Eusebius who said that at his time only 1 Peter was accepted as authentically Peterine. In addition it has a portion in chapter three that fuels “Left Behind” types depicting the world as burning in flames. Revelation used to bother me but now I see it in a different light.
I’m most bothered by 1Chronicles because all the genealogies give me a headache and make me never want to read all of the good stuff in it. Plus, all the good stuff is said in 1Kings and 1Kings says it better. I’d exclude from the canon Philemon because I don’t see why it’s in there in the first place. I keep hearing all this talk about how it shows the Gospel in action, but as I see it, so does the rest of the NT!
Has to be Revelation for me. I still haven’t come to terms with it.
Some worthy scholars have rejected Petrine authorship of 2 Peter.
Luther was too driven by his understanding of dikaiosune theou, which was partially incomplete, by the way. 😀
I think I may have to write a post on why I like Philemon b/c I have always found it very insightful regarding (a) slavery and (b) authority structures and (c) unity/equality in the church.
By the way, you jumped the gun w. 1 Chron! I was going to ask the OT Q in a few days! 🙂
Yes, Luther went a bit too far but I think his critics may be doing the same thing as well. Moo has done the best job with that phrase thus far in my opinion.
2 Pet. has been rejected but I think (1) there is an interpretive approach to chapter three that allows it to jive with Rom. 8 (I believe it was by R. Bauckham) and (2) there may be a good explanation regarding the difference between 1 and 2 Pet if Peter used a scribe in writing 1 Pet (which is superior Gk).
Revelation is always tough.
I preached through 2 Peter a couple of years ago and the grammar was tough, though I don’t know that I would say it bothered me. 2 Corinthians is not my favorite letter because Paul does seem to shift gears/thoughts more than in his other letters, though I don’t buy into the partition theories. So, I guess I would say either 2 Peter or 2 Corinthians bothered me most, but only because of stylistic issues.
Brian: My bad. I completely failed to notice that you specified NT. Well, that, and I equate NT with Bible. 😉 Feel free to edit my comment.
“and I equate NT with Bible…”
Nick, your Marcionism is showing.
I would be fun to see a list of all the books once treasured among the varieties of Christians from 100 A.D. to 300 A.D. and see what was scratched off by who and why.
Edward: Nah. I like ALL of the NT! Well, except for Philemon which I’m indifferent about. 😉
I am sure there is a history of the canon that gives those details. Anyone suggest any books?
I’m a fan of 2 Peter, and I’m definitely not a Left Behindist… about as far as you can be actually 😉 It’s all in the purging baby. The flood destroyed the earth and I’m still standing on it 🙂 Say goodbye to the fallen world system of ethics and sin, and hello to the redeemption of all things, including great art, architecture, food, etc etc.
My problem is the book of Jude. I mean I already have all the teachings of Jude in 2 Peter. It’s really just 2 Peter part II.
That is a good way of looking @ 2 Pet. 3. I think Bauckham argued that it is the purging of the earth as well. Yes, Jude is a bit odd ain’t it.
I will leave it as is. It will allow for a useful intro to that post! 😉
Brian, Are you referring to Moo’s Pillar commentary?
I’ll have to reread Bauckham’s arguments against Petrine authorship of 2 Pet.
No, Bauckham doesn’t argue against it, he just reexegetes 2 Pet. 3 to not speak of the world being destroyed by fire but rather purged.
I am actually more familiar w. Moo through journal articles and his contribution to ‘Justification and Variegated Nomism, V. 2’.
Bryan: Jude as “It’s really just 2 Peter part II.”
Or maybe 2 Peter is just Jude part II, i.e. cleaned up and augmented.
Depending on one’s view of the “Synoptic Problem”, one does worry about the inclusion of the Gospel according to Mark even though Matthew and Luke cover nearly all of its contents.
In regards to Jude, sure–that’s obviously a possibility, but my comment was mostly tongue-in-cheek running with Brian’s comment on 2 Peter.
I don’t have a problem with the inclusion of Mark in the Synoptics. Mark’s focus is very Markan, with an emphasis on the identity of Jesus and the irruption of the Kingdom through his person and works. Matthew and Luke have their own emphases, some of which overlap and some don’t. It’s not in their presentation of the same contents, but the theological emphasis on the way they present the contents.
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